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On Dec. 27, 2018, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia’s petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of “progressive DA” Larry Krasner. This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia’s favor since he was arrested on Dec. 9, 1981. In his decision, Judge Tucker ruled former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the district attorney during Mumia’s first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, “created the appearance of bias and impropriety” in the appeal process when he didn’t recuse himself from participating in Mumia’s appeals.
The lockdown of 47,000 prisoners in all 25 Pennsylvania prisons began Aug. 29, 2018, and lasted for 12 days. Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel backed by Gov. Tom Wolf said the lockdown was an emergency measure to protect prison guards. They claimed there was widespread illness of guards from physical contact with synthetic drugs. This is false. The lockdown looks like it was a planned pre-emptive action so that the National Prison Strike didn’t spread to Pennsylvania prisons. The “drug emergency” was a pretext to isolate, repress and control prisoners.
For over three decades, thousands of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe have mobilized to save Mumia Abu-Jamal from execution, to overturn his conviction, to demand his freedom. Without these international mobilizations, crucially including the organized labor movement, we would not have saved Mumia from two warrants of execution and compelled the state to concede defeat in trying to execute him.
Could Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the 20th century’s most high profile political prisoners, a powerful and renowned author and a former Black Panther, have hope of being released after 34 years in prison, 30 of those years on death row? Could Mumia, unlike the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti or the Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed by the state, finally see the light of day after decades in prison like former Black Panthers Geronimo Pratt, the Angola 3 and Eddie Conway?
Protest Big Pharma’s price gouging that threatens Hep-C patients, including Mumia, on Monday, Jan. 11, 12 noon, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference for Big Pharma executives and investors at Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St., Union Square, in San Francisco. Gilead Sciences sells the curative Harvoni pill in Egypt for 10 cents each, and Gilead does not lose money at this price. In the U.S., Gilead is price-gouging at about 10,000 times the cost of production!
Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”
On Thursday, April 9, 2015, I visited my husband, Mumia Abu-Jamal, at SCI Mahanoy. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6, but I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked. Seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die. He was shivering so hard, I put my arms around him and my head to his chest to hear his heart and to bring some warmth to his body because he said he was freezing. We need to keep up the pressure. Let the warden and state corrections secretary know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing examine and treat him.
Guards stood outside the hospital room and one was inside the room with Mumia. I was shocked at his condition: He had lost over 40 pounds, was weak, barely able to sit up and keep his head up, handcuffed to his chair, with labored breathing and dry mouth. I told him about all the love outpouring for him and that the world is watching!
Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson’s story is an excruciatingly clear example of an innocent man caught in a corrupt process. The state has worked overtime to keep him locked up for life. Evidence was falsified by the police and prosecution. And when a federal appeals court ruled this so-called evidence was legally insufficient to convict, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and reinstated his conviction.
Mumia’s motion not only attacks his own sentence to “slow death row,” but makes the constitutional challenge to life imprisonment without parole, solitary confinement for death row inmates and solitary confinement in general. Mumia is fighting with and for the entirety of the “incarceration nation.”